Russia and Gay Propaganda

The Russian federal law “for the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values” was signed into law on the 30th of June 2013 by President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin after a unanimous vote (436 -0) in favour (bar one abstention) from the State Duma (The lower house of the Russian parliament).

“I have sincere contempt for the Duma’s deputies. All, including the so-called opposition. You have now brought fascism to my country,” – Yelena Kostyachenko, Russian journalist

The Russian government claims that the ban on propaganda to stop homosexuality as being something normal is to preserve “traditional family values” among their population.

The anti-propaganda laws charge fines of up to 5,000 Rubles (roughly US$156) for promoting anything with homosexual content directed at minors – “directed at forming a nontraditional sexual set-up). It also applies to anyone who states that homosexual and heterosexual relationships should be equal, or even that the individuals deserve to be treated equally, as well as to anyone who distributes anything that speaks positively about homosexuality. The fines can go up to 100,000 Rubles (£1,975) for anyone who disseminates “propaganda” online or through the official media. Foreigners who enter Russia do not face long term jail time; but it is still up to 15 days and includes deportation, and they may also be fined the 100,000 Rubles. Organisations can be fined 1 million Rubles and have all activity ceased for up to 90 days.

The bill was criticised of being poorly defined- and I genuinely cannot find anything stating how the bill defines propaganda in any official capacity- but despite this obvious and enormous flaw, Putin had promised to sign it in advance of it passing through the Duma.

“We are talking about protecting children from the respective information” – Vladimir V. Putin

Putin denied that the bill was anti-homosexual, and instead claimed that it was about “protecting children”. The Russian government claims that legalising gay marriage in other countries is a matter effecting those countries’ national security- effectively stating that gay spouses all suddenly become terrorists.

Putin also put into law a bill saying that anyone who offends religious observers can be jailed and fined. This would, of course, include homosexuals when extremist members of certain religious groups are concerned- an obvious example being the Westboro Baptist Church, who picket the funeral of anyone they believe to be homosexual and can reach the grave of, and celebrate their deaths. The bill essentially would mean that in a country with a high propensity for extremist attitudes about whether gay people even deserve to live, LGBT people could essentially be fined for being alive if this bill were to be passed there instead.

This bill was intended to punish actions “demonstrating disrespect to society and done with the goal of offending the believers’ religious feelings”. You can be given up to 3 years in jail for insulting a religious believer in  Russia; although being able to insult someone unlimitedly is obviously not a good thing, to be arrested for insulting someone once of a specific group is a very blatant breaking of the human rights declaration that Russia signed when joining the UN.

“The government is using these instincts – homophobia, xenophobia – to justify its policies against an independent civil society. They are making enemies out of us – not just LGBT society, but any group in society that doesn’t agree with their current politics.” – Igor Kochetkov, Russian LGBT Rights Activist

This isn’t just a reflection of a strange government order, but of a strange society. 45% of Russian people genuinely believe that homosexuality is caused by being seduced into it by propaganda and 47% believe that they do not deserve equal rights to straight people. Although they should have a right to their own culture and their own views on social issues, it should not be at the expense of understanding the science of the issue (which is that people are not drawn in by propaganda, but by their own genetics and by experiences during their formative years). It also makes no sense that the law is supposedly about “protecting children” but it is illegal to publish material speaking out for homosexual rights to adults, displaying blatant hypocrisy and an inability to form a decent justification, or a high level of condescension (essentially stating that all Russians are forever children).

The bill has given the Russian Orthodox Church unprecedented power, and this seems almost to be Putin’s tactic to maintain his power within Russia- to lean on the church as heavily as possible and make attacks on the church illegal so that attacks on him can be made illegal.

“People have become more closed, more depressed, less out than they were. The law makes our activity more difficult, because we never know when the red button will be pressed… If I were to walk along the corridors of my school holding hands with my husband, that would be considered a promotion of non-traditional family values. I won’t be fired because I’m out and gay and promoting non-traditional family values at school. Then there would be a court case. All the authorities like to say at international high-level meetings that there is no discrimination in Russia. So it would be on disciplinary stuff: if I forget my lesson plan or I’m five minutes late to class.” – Konstantin Yablotsky, an organiser of the Open Games

Yablotsky has talked about how the coverage of the Olympic Sochi games and the Open Games together actually worsened LGBT rights in Russia. There was a lot of initial international coverage about the act, with many calls to not attend the games. In interviews, Yablotsky would make it clear that the Open Games were not about protest, or following any political ideology, but about promoting a healthy lifestyle and peaceful dialogue with authorities. However, this somehow got misinterpreted as being a protest, and was reported as such internationally. With the international community looking at the games as being a protest against the government full of LGBT propaganda, it was hardly a surprise that the Russian authorities cracked down so hard on them. Many venues for the Open Games (a sports event like the Olympics but intended for LGBT athletes) cancelled reservations at the last minute, and the police ordered many others to be evacuated because of a fictitious terrorist threat. Generally, outside movements are a good help for social movements, as long as they carefully think through the repercussions of what they are doing. Outsiders need to be careful that they do not portray the situation as LGBT individuals deliberately opposing the state in anyway which is not directly for their own safety and the country’s wellbeing, and merely take the actual concerns of the individuals into account.

There is now a clearer idea of how the law is being enforced. Activists at Askhangelsk and Kazan have been arrested for holding signs at rallies, a newspaper in Khabarovsk was fined for publishing an interview with a teacher who was fired for being gay, a manufacturer of a children’s game that portrayed gay couples was fined, and children’s author Lyudmila Ulitskaya is being investigated because her book series promote homosexuality.

It has also facilitated homophobia; a St Petersburg gay march were showered in sickening gas, and many firms refuse to host LGBT events or groups due to fears of legal action against them. The liberal political opposition feel unable (justifiedly) to associate themselves with giving the LGBT community more rights, even to just basic freedom of speech, and journalists can’t cover the results of the ban. Several teachers have been fired for being openly gay, even if they don’t mention this to their students. Just using the word “gay” is often seen as propaganda. Drag artists have been attacked, even when they are straight and cis-gendered, with significant numbers of audience members ending up hospitalised. Radical Orthodox group, God’s Will, seeks to out professionals who are gay, and force companies to fire them (which is indisputably stupid as if they have to seek them out they are clearly not distributing propaganda about it, and are not posing any threats at all, even if saying you’re homosexual is seen as a threat, to traditional family values).

Groups like Occupy Paedophilia equate homosexuality to pedophilia.

“We [LGBT people] are treated as subhuman, with no civil or human rights. We are social non-entities, and we are even considered diseased and dangerous to society,” – Yulianna Prosvirnina, a drag king, who had her performance interrupted and 4 of her audience members hospitalised.

A Russian priest denounced the football world cup team’s cleats as being a “homosexual abomination”. The Jewish Autonomous Oblast, in Russia’s far east, felt the need to ask the Kremlin to confirm that their flag, featuring a rainbow, is not homosexual propaganda.

LGBT awareness events can be shut down if police find there to be anyone under the age of eighteen attending, and local authorities refuse permits for most types of gatherings.  LGBT rights are further hindered in Russia, as many activists have emigrated to get away from the harsh law.

“We used to do a lot of film screenings as a form of education, but now we can’t show a film unless it gets a certificate from the state confirming that it can be publicly shown. A lot of smaller places that could show films will not allow it in their facilities anymore. Police will attend some our events to check passports.” – Andrei Obolensky, chairman of the Rainbow Association, and LGBT rights group.

Teenagers’ mental healths have been effected as even discussing the possibility that they might not be heterosexual has effectively been outlawed, and they can’t find any sorts of support groups if they decide that they’re not. Teenagers unsure of their sexual identity have become outcasts within their own society. This is especially evident after a series of hate-groups used social media to lure gay teenagers into meeting them and then physically assaulted them- photos of the attacks are then shared on social media, and often receive many ‘likes’ with little police intervention. The ban is being applied without any considerations for child protection, and that knowing the age of every user of each computer might be a little bit bad for safety reasons in a country known to be a source of child trafficking.  Teenage suicide rates are 3x the global average in Russia.

There is a double stigma for gay people who have contracted HIV. There have been parents who have said they wished they had got an adoption after their children said they were HIV positive in the past, who have been able to receive counselling, but that would not be available now.

The ban is really just a symptom of a much bigger problem in Russia- that anyone who has opinions against the president is slowly having their freedom of speech become more and more restricted. The government has been cracking down on anything that Putin thinks may effect constitutional order, defence or security, and to stop anyone who may pose a threat to his presidency speaking out, despite it being a “democratic” country.

Make America Hate Again 2/209

Hello, welcome to Make America Hate Again, the documentary of the hate Trump has made again. The number on the top represents the week of Trump’s term and the number beneath shows how many weeks there are in total of his term. If you want to find a specific week, either change the URL in the top bar^ or search for “part [week number]” into the search bar

For part 0, the last part, the next part and the latest part.

If in doubt, any quotes come from here.

I would also like to clarify: I don’t think all conservatives are idiots. I disagree with many conservative views, but most conservatives’ points can at least be understood. Trump cannot.

I also have to say at this point, I have a real appreciation for all the websites doing a similar day-by-day system. I feel like many of them will only cover the first 100 days though, and I plan on covering the whole thing. The level of detail will of course fall after 100 days though.

January 28th

  • Previously, the travel ban had been said to stop all travel from the 7 black list states. Now, according to the same administration official who made the first announcement, if someone from a black list state moves into another state they can now get a waiver on the rule. I’m not complaining about this change in theory, but in practice this is going to worsen the stream of refugees into European states, where they will stay indefinitely until they can move across. European states will grow even more needlessly embittered about saving people’s lives and stop, sentencing thousands, maybe even millions, of extra people to death.
  • I know we found out about this on the 6th/Feb, but Donald Trump is too inept to find the light switch in the chamber room, so meetings have been held entirely in the dark. Apparently no one had the brains to go find a torch either.

January 29th

  • “It really is a massive success story in terms of implementation on every single level” claims an Unnamed white house official , about the travel ban. I am unsure if he’s just been censored from learning about the protests. He spoke only on the condition of anonymity, which either means he was being sarcastic and was worried about being fired, or knows he’s talking nonsense and didn’t want anyone trying to get him to justify it.
  • The state visit of Trump to the UK was announced to be going ahead, despite calls from MPs for him to not be allowed into Parliament, general disapproval of his visit, and a well-backed petition with 1.25 million signatures on Change.org (where normally 100,000 are needed) for him to not be allowed in as a form of retaliation against him not letting refugees in (and against many other things, too).
  • The US embassy of the UK insisted that they would not be allowing VISAs into the US from the seven banned states (I think I’ll refer to them as the 7BS from now on, which serves both to represent the name and what most people think of it), even to people with US citizenship or dual nationality.
  • Yemen’s minister of foreign affairs spoke out against the travel ban from the 7BS, saying it was going to feed into conflict and extremism within Yemen. Yemen has had a civil war raging for years now, so anything that could increase their conflict is hard to imagine, and really should not be encouraged.
  • Indonesia said the ban would not help against the fight against terror
  • Asian financial markets were still plummeting due to uncertainties caused by the ban.

January 30th

  • Steve Miller, a Trumpian advisor claimed on the morning show that the protests about the refugee bans are a good thing: “If nobody’s disagreeing with what you’re doing, um, then you’re probably not doing anything that really matters.” It honestly sounded like he was asking a question. This means one (or both) of two things. 1) They don’t seem to realise that that proverb really only counts for if you’re not the one in charge; if you persuaded people to let you be in charge, then you shouldn’t have anyone disagreeing with you on things that really matter; 2) Even Trump’s advisors can’t think up good reasons for the things he’s doing.
  • Steve Bannon, the man I said the following about: “I’ve known Steve Bannon a long time. If I thought he was a racist, or alt-right, or any of the things that we can, you know, the terms we can use, I wouldn’t even think about hiring him.” You saying you were concerned about him being racist or alt-right basically confirms he is, especially with you again admitting it by wavering around the point for three separate clauses.”  before, is now on the Security Council. This is a big deal. He essentially has the power to force any country to do what he wants, by right of the veto power of the USA. He has the right to force any country to act in racist ways, and there is nothing anyone can do about it, currently, legally. Bush didn’t even do this. The White House justified this by saying he was “in the Navy“.  This is made even worse because Bannon described Trump’s voters as the “working-class hobbits.” He can’t even respect his own citizens and he’s now technically one of the most powerful people on the planet, arguably more powerful than Trump himself. This is a Bad Thing.
  • Steve Bannon told the media to “Keep its mouth shut.” First step of a dictatorship (at least, of the brutal ones which manage to be iconically disgusting) is government officials not allowing journalists to say what they want.
  • People trying to enter the US, even US citizens, from the 7 black list states, now need to be handcuffed, and be patted down, including groping of the chest area (which if anyone can store anything dangerous in, I would be very impressed), as described by this woman.
  • Justice Secretary, Sally Yates, from the Obama Administration, ordered the department not to follow Trump’s Executive Order to ban Middle Eastern entry from the US. She was staying until there was a confirmed replacement for her role. They were initially expected to defend the policy, although lawyers tasked with defending it seemed baffled and perplexed about how- how to make it seem legal and how to justify it. The department then said they would not defend the policy as long as Yates was their attorney general. Jeff Sessions is expected to reverse this.

January 31st

  • Acting Attorney General was Sally Yates was fired, at 1:00 in the morning GMT, or 8:00 PM East Coast Time, on the 30th. Sessions was expected to be put into the role anyway today, pushing her out of the acting position. She was not allowed to even do her job as head of Justice; defining whether certain actions are legal and whether people are guilty or not.
  • Neil Gorsuch is now in the supreme court for life.
  • Trump delayed signing an order centred on improving cyber security.
  • Trump has not  repealed Obama’s act stopping discrimination against LGBT+ workers working with federal agencies or contractors. He has said that they have to be “at the direction of” Trump though, which, to me, sounds a lot like “you can still discriminate when I tell you you can.”
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director was named as Thomas Honan.

February 1st

  • Many republican members of the senate have announced that they will not be supporting Trump’s decision to make Betsy Devos head of the Department of Education.
  • Trump urges a move that a simple majority can push through a candidate for office. I don’t think this will allow Betzy Devos through anyway, most republicans have to have brain cells to get where they are (the main exceptions being the people Trump picks, and himself).
  • Committees approve Jeff Sessions, the man too racist to be a judge to become attorney general, and Rex Tillerson for secretary of state, despite his ties to Russia. But, I guess, if Trump got in, we shouldn’t expect that to be an issue.
  • Evangelical christian leader Jerry Falwell Jr  is now in charge of an education reform task force, and he intends to remove protections against sexual assault from University and College campuses. I never understood this mentality in fundamentalist Christians, the thinking that abortion is absolutely wrong, but contraception is too, and they don’t even think about protecting women from rapists. Surely if you don’t want unwanted babies to be aborted you should actively encourage contraception? The unwanted babies have to be stopped somewhere (unless people really like parents not valuing their children) and it makes a lot more sense to me to focus on before anyone can start trying to argue they’re alive yet.
  • The USA puts Iran “on notice” for testing missiles. What “on notice” means is a mystery.
  • A counter-terrorism task force was renamed to be specifically targetting radical islam. The vast majority of American terrorists are not Muslim. This is new heights of stupid. Or it would be, if this weren’t Trump.
  • Trump pays his respects to the Navy Seal who died because he couldn’t be bothered to read the mission briefing properly.
  • Trump claims that most reporters who cover him are a disgrace
  • “Iran is rapidly taking over more and more of Iraq even after the U.S. has squandered three trillion dollars there. Obvious long ago!” Trump doesn’t seem to realise this was never a thing. There was an Iraqi invasion of Iran in the 1980’s, but never an Iranian invasion of Iraq, as far as I can work out.
  • Trump annulls the deal Obama made with Australia to essentially swap refugees.
  • It’s hard to miss the irony of him being “proud to honor the start of black history month… with @VP Mike Pence,” given how racist they both are.

February 2nd

  • The white house said that Trump was “very upset” about the refugee deal with Australia, but that he would honour it, which sounds like how most parents would describe a child’s temper tantrum after it had ended, really.
  • Trump’s treasury department adjusted their sanctions against Russia’s intelligence services in light of their activities during the election period.
  • Trump says he wants to either renegotiate or replace the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement. He’s going to do a lot of replacing perfectly good things with a slightly worse copy of them in the next four years, isn’t he?

February 3rd

  • Donald Trump has both managed to completely disregard the importance of the decisions he has to make and made many of his staff completely opposed to him. If his staff had any  respect for him, they would not be leaking details, as opposed to officially releasing  them. An interviewee also explains how others also feel they need to do this to get him to pay attention to him. Far more important than this are the horrendously misinformed decisions he is making. The video linked here is a good summary by MSNBC of some of the awful decisions he has made. Around 8:30 they summarise how misinformed he is around a single one of his decisions.
  • 227,000 new jobs were generated over January. Whether this was before Trump came to power or not, I don’t know. I also don’t know how many of these were because of having to enforce stupid new rules. Can you imagine how much more work security guards and lawyers got from the travel ban?
  • Trump called for reviews of the banking regulations put in after the 2008 recession.
  • Tens of thousands of VISAs have been revoked under the travel ban
  • US immigration officials have postponed meeting refugees in Australia, suggesting that the White House is pushing against the resettlement program fairly forcefully now.
  • Republicans in Congress have called to repeal various acts to regulate emissions and environmental damage from business. This is oddly similar to how, in a documentary called Death by China by the US trade secretary, there’s one interviewee who says [paraphrasing] “China got rich by polluting all their waste in their rivers. Can you imagine how much richer we could be if we removed our regulations and dumped all our waste in the Ohio river?” He specifically mentioned the Ohio river, and it genuinely sounded like he wanted to dump waste in it. They are dangerously close to that man’s opinions.

Georgia 2011 Protests

2011_Georgia_Clashes
An injured protester in Tbilisi

From the 21st to the 26th May 2011, there were a series of protests in Georgia against the president, Mikheil Saakashvili. The protests broke out in the capital, Tbilisi. The protests started ahead of the military parades to celebrate Georgian independence day. The protesters were demanding the president’s resignation, claiming that he was doing nothing to tackle poverty, and that he was practicing authoritarian behaviour.

The protest on the 21st was led by Nino Burjanadze, a previous speaker of the parliament. The movement had been holding continuus demonstration in front of the Public Broadcasting building since, calling for Mr Saakashvili to step down from his role as president.

The president said that they had every right to freedom of speech but that their protests were not related to this.

10,000 people turned out to protest. Many of these are poor people struggling to survive in the country, especially with rising food costs, a large number of which are the elderly living on pensions. This meant that they became known as the Silver Revolution. In Georgia, 11.49% of people live in poverty. GDP/capita with Purchasing Power Parity adjustment is just US$2180.69 annually. People genuinely cannot pay for the food they need to survive. Further, they were accusing him of hoarding power since their Independence, and of using ties within the USofA and the EU to deflect human rights abuse allegations.

On May 25th 2011, protesters gathered in front of the parliament building on Rustaveli Avenue.  The authorities warned that the protests would be broken up to make way for the independance day parades, which would be heading through the street. The protesters had a permit to hold a rally on May 25th that expired at midnight, though the fact that they needed a permit to protest is already concerning.

The protest was ended by thousands of riot police arriving at just after midnight, at 12:15, on the 26th to stop the peaceful protest. The police were backed by armoured cars firing water cannons and rubber bullets towards the crowd and fights quickly broke out between the police and the protesters. Teargas was used by the police in the operation. It took about 30 minutes to clear the area in front of parliament.

Two people were killed by a speeding car during the protests in the capital, while 40 others were injured by the police violence.

Police pursued fleeing protesters using rubber truncheons. One took shelter in a cinema, and was then detained and beaten. Large numbers of injured people were focused around the police station. Some protesters armed themselves with flag poles and makeshift shields to attack the police in return. One policeman died as he was hit by a car fleeing the venue.

“Even if the Tbilisi demonstration was unauthorized, nothing can justify the beating of largely peaceful demonstrators. Police responsible for beating protesters should be held to account. Even if the Tbilisi demonstration was unauthorized, nothing can justify the beating of largely peaceful protesters.” -said Rachel Denber, Europe and Central Asia deputy director at Human Rights Watch.

The president blamed Russia for the unrest. “It was an attempt to hold protests in accordance with a scenario written outside Georgia and sought to thwart Independence Day celebrations, cause sabotage and mass disorder in the country. This day was chosen as a target by our occupiers,” –Saakashvili.

Russia has thousands of troops in two kremlin-backed rebel regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and recognises them as independant countries after Georgia became independant of the soviet union.

A Russian foreign military spokesman said that it was a glaring violation of human rights and freedoms but made no comment on the president’s accusations towards Russia.

The Changing Face of Reindeer Herding

This loosely fits into the Cold Environment and climatic hazards topics of the current A Level, plus the Place topic in the new A Level. If you happen to be Sami yourself.

Longreads

Mr Ingold wrote about the importance of the word talo. Roughly translated, it means house. But it also has a deeper meaning. When Finnish herders are raised in a talo, it is not simply that they grow up in one place. “A house,” explains Mr Ingold, “is a total establishment, an organic unity of place and people, cumulatively built up through the work of generations.” It is not something that can be shaken off. When Aarne says that herders are “born” to do it he is not being flippant. Like his father, he feels he had little choice. Nor does he regret that. Raisa explains that “this is what we want to do. There’s a richness to this wild way of life.”

That remains true even as threats from climate change, logging and other signs of expanding human footprints impinge on their vast emptiness. But throughout the centuries…

View original post 45 more words

Why Trump is ISIS’ President

I’m not armed with stats, or anything like that for this, beyond what google can quickly equip me with and having read through many, many articles on how people become terrorists for an MUN conference where I was representing Russia in the Security Council last year.  I am going to do my best to afford rambling or ranting- that doesn’t help the case, and it doesn’t help my attempts to store mostly pure fact, even here.

It’s been on my mind quite intensely the last week or so, thanks to the result of a certain election.

Deporting people for being Muslim is EXACTLY what terrorists want.

If I could remember where I found it, I would use the actual quotes of the psychologist who said the fuller version of this, but essentially people don’t become angry at their society unless their society gives them something to be angry at.

The general plan of ISIS, from what I read then, is to be so intimidating to everyone that non-Muslims make the assumption that all Muslims are like that. They would then start to act in slight prejudiced manners, which would eventually lead to conscious prejudice. After that, it would become institutionalised, so that the public role itself was attacking Muslims. ISIS then assumed that the marginalised Muslims would turn by default to them due to hopes of being more included.

We skipped right past slight prejudice: One of the girls in my form at school described how just the day after the Paris attacks, a young Muslim woman had been at a tube station and been pushed into the path of an oncoming train very deliberately by a fellow passenger, which my classmate’s mother had witnessed. She’d survived, due to hitting the train at a very fortunate angle, and rebounded onto the platform, but she was definitely hurt. This was not reported in any major newspapers, which is somewhat understandable due to wanting to focus on the attacks in the short term, but I really doubt that it was the only incident, and I feel any incident that may have been an attempted hate-related killing should be known, even if it were a few weeks later.

The Leave campaign is a good demonstration of institutionalising prejudice too. The actual campaign wasn’t anywhere near as racist as I was anticipating, but at least in the area I live, the only reasons for people voting out seemed to be that they hadn’t fact checked data, that they hadn’t thought critically about data or, seemingly overwhelmingly, that they just didn’t want Muslim people diluting the culture, or even worse statements about Islam (The amount of people over 20 who respond like that is terrifying). The EU parliament is actually more representative than the UK parliament (The UK has 19% women, the EU has 37% women, just for starters), with a closer representation of what people would vote as well, and no good politician would sign up to a deal where £350 million was being spent daily on something not in direct national interest. So I don’t think the campaign was racist- just really poorly fact checked- but a lot (not all) of the votes were racist.

And a lot of the most popular ideas from Brexit campaigners went along the lines of forcibly removing migrants from our country. Many people got called racist terms used against them over the first few weeks after the vote- including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who got called the “p” word numerous times. Clearly a lot of people saw the Brexit vote as an excuse to increase our openness to racist attitudes. I’m not saying don’t express your views- I’m saying consider your views and if they’re justified, which racism is not.

Meanwhile we started increasing paranoia thoroughly throughout society. France had good reason to- I’d be concerned if France wasn’t paranoid right now- but everyone increasing their fear is exactly what terrorists want. It’s in the name. A terrorist is someone who aims to achieve their goals through means such as mass murder to induce a state of terror among the population. The very worst thing you can do after a terrorist act is to be overly terrified, and to act on the terror to be prejudiced. Terrorists thrive under oppression.

President-elect Donald Trump stated in many of his speeches that he plans to stop Muslims coming into the country full stop. Far beyond the sheer logistical issues of a complete ban (and the question of what happens if one of the few Muslim senators (I can find two) had a holiday abroad during their term and the rule meant they couldn’t return, then senate couldn’t enter session?), the pressure this will put on Muslim people will be tremendous. Quite apart from shutting them really going to have no impact on migration rates, the hatred this will cause among Muslim populations could be enormous. Tightening up immigration controls tends to increase migration as people rush through to reach family they won’t see otherwise. I know that a minute proportion of people are ever radicals, but if anything is going to raise hatred, and therefore radicalism, making people feel imprisoned and hated by the general population is going to do it.

The US has been responsible for, by conservative estimates, 10 million Muslims’ deaths in the Middle East just since 1990, whilst the total deaths to terrorism in this time has been, judging from graphs, possibly around 390,000 worldwide, and Europe has a figure at scale of 10 around 20,600 deaths in this time. I’m not saying any of those deaths are justifiable- just that they are nothing compared to 10 million deaths.

graph source: http://www.datagraver.com/case/worldwide-terrorism-1970-2015

Even just Trump’s current pleas of removal of 2 million undocumented migrants are unrealistic- the official estimate is 168,000 undocumented migrants in total in the USA, which is absolutely minute and really not enough people, in a population of 324,600,000 for it to be worth worrying over if they’re contributing to the economy- which they are. Trump claims that immigration control does not know who Middle Eastern refugees are when they come in, despite current legislation meaning that about 2 years are spent checking out every single potential migrant, which should be plenty to work out if they’re a likely terrorist.

Prejudice breeds contempt, and contempt spawns radicals.

The best figures I can find for how many British ISIS members there are is about 1,600. There are 2,660,116 Muslim people in the United Kingdom. That means that 0.0006015% of Muslims are ISIS sympathisers, let alone actual ISIS agents. Given the amount of hatred aimed at Muslim people, that’s pretty low. The chances of being murdered in the UK are 0.0062%, including by terrorist attack. You are 100x less likely to even meet an ISIS agent as to be murdered. The UK has a 2.9 per 100,000 death rate from car crashes, amounting to a 0.0029% chance. You have a 10% chance of being sexually assaulted in the UK in your life time, which is 16,625x more likely than meeting a terrorist. Basically, if you’re willing enough to take risks of walking out into the street, you should be willing to admit that terrorism can’t be that likely to affect you-as the statistics prove.

So basically, please, please, stop trying to fight terrorism by hating on Muslim people. All the Muslims I know are perfectly reasonable human beings, with perfectly reasonable sets of opinions and views. US attacks on the Middle East for, let’s face it, oil, have killed far more people than terrorist attacks- at least 20x as many. People only start practicing terrorism if their society has driven them to it, and I can see why just the US war record would do it.

Hatred never solved anything. If Russia (where, from what I could find, the 10% Muslim population seems to be treated reasonably fairly) is being more inclusive than your supposedly highly liberal society towards a religious group, you might want to check out why that is and consider it critically.

Alaska- Conflicts and Pressures

Oil

The USofA has high demands for oil and a desire to not be dependent on the supply given by other, typically less stable countries.

Oppositions to the exploitation of Alaskan oil were largely based on the fragile tundra ecosystem of the state.

  • Only a few cm of top soil thaw in the summer, so productivity is low in plant life
  • Below the arctic circle, the tundra makes way for taiga forest which has a variety of coniferous tree types
  • Supported by these environments are a wide variety of other species such as caribou, moose, bears, wolves and wolverines.

The US Government’s National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 meant that all companies had to consider the environment and recognise the rights of indigenous peoples.

  • To prevent permafrost melting, oil installations at well-heads are raised on mattresses
  • Dalton Highway (open since 1994) provides a supply route from the South to Prudhoe Bay in the North. It is built 2 m off the tundra surface on a bed of gravel and sand.
  • Workers at oil fields who do 2 week shifts through the year are flown in by Air Alaska from Anchorage (in the South) and lie in Deadhorse in raised, heated cabins
  • The Trans-Alaskan Pipeline, carrying oil 1,300 km from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez started being constructed in 1974 and was completed in 1977 at a cost of US$8 x 10^9. 5 pumping stations control oil flow. The pipeline is insulated and for most of its length is raised- both for access and to minimise environmental damage. The pipeline is built with a “zigzag” path to allow space for expansion of the pipeline in summer without the pipe breaking and leaking oil onto the tundra.
  • BP became the sole oil extractor at Prudhoe Bay in 2,000 but had to abandon parts of the oil field in 2009 as 900,000 litres of oil leaked from corroded pipes
  • In 1978 the Government increased areas of conservation in Alaska by 23 million hectare and by another 42 million in 1980

The oil is shipped out from Valdez by companies such as Exxon to refineries elsewhere in the USofA. Valdez is also dependent on commercial fishing.

 

  • The Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 damaged large sections of the coastline
  • Since 2006 some double-hull oil tankers, offering more protection against potential obstacles, have been operating in Alaskan waters.

The area also has a threat of earthquakes and tsunamis due to being on a destructive plate boundary.

Geological activity

On 27th March 1964 an earthquake measuring 9.2 on the Richter scale, epicentre 112 km East of Anchorage occurred resulting in land beside Prince William Sound sinking around 2 m. Tsunami over 30m high have hit Valdez before- Valdez has had to be relocated to a higher, safer site because of this.

Tourism

Tourism in Alaska is mainly concentrated in June, July and August, and in the South. Many visitors come in cruise ships.

  • Tourists are bused between National Parks to admire wildlife and scenery
  • Many anglers from around the world visit Alaska
  • Many ferries and tourist vehicles also carry rangers who identify wildlife and geographical features

Fires

32% of Alaska is covered in forest. There are 4.8 million hectares of commercial forest

  • In 2004, 272 fires were caused by lightning and 424 by people One by Dalton Highway destroyed 195,576 hectares of forest

Ash from fire can release minerals which help plant growth and also leaves areas of the forest floor exposed to sunlight so more plants can grow there.

Population

In 2,000 Alaska had 626,932 residents, and now has 736,732 in 2016.

  • To safeguard subsistence lifestyles, a government act in 1980 gave the rural people priority in hunting and fishing on federal lands. There have been subsequent disputes between rural and urban Alaskans, due to claims of being discriminated against. It is difficult for wardens to enforce this.
  • Alaskan residents have benefited from oil revenue. In 1976 the Alaska Permanent Fund was established. At least 25% of all money earned from minerals goes into this fund. By 1980 oil revenues had allowed Alaska to abolish income taxes. Alaska is now the 4th richest US state.

Politics

The Arctic may have up to 25% of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas reserves. In 2007, Russia put claims to the Arctic which has created tensions with other Arctic nations and territories, including Denmark (Greenland), Norway and Canada, as well as the USofA

 

(Image Sources: http://www.d.umn.edu/~hoef0049/pbpipeline.html http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/pipeline/map/ http://nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/news/140319_alaska.html)

Siberian Oil

Oil has been exploited in Siberia since the 1970s, with some serious impacts

Environmental impacts

The impacts of petrol development are well known; pollution, disruption of nature, and destruction of wildlife and resources. Soil pollution is largely caused by oil settling pits and broken pipelines.

Economic and social impacts

These impacts are less visible in Siberia, but include:

  • Population redistribution- the Khanty population have had to move off of their hunting grounds
  • Economic dependency- oil companies have supplied resources such as snowmobiles, which local people have become reliant upon
  • Deteriorating physical and mental health- depression and alcoholism have increased due to the loss of traditional life styles and a lack of formal employment available
  • Oil- Responsible for politicising local Khanty people. Traditional authority figures have been replaced by the rich.

Cultural impacts

  • Reassasment by local Khanty people of the importance of their homelands
  • Destruction of components of native religions including sacred places